20 Qualities of Great Accountants

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When you think of an accountant you probably think of someone that is very organized and precise with a natural affinity for mathematics.

Well, you wouldn't be wrong. But there are far more important qualities to a good accountant than you'd think.

Good accountants also need to be sociable, collaborative, practical-minded and able to work well on a team. Being business minded is also important as it is the financial health of a company that an accountant manages, after all.

If you're looking to recruit a new accountant, here are some of the top attributes they should have.

The Top 20 Attributes of Good Accountants

A career in the field of accounting is no walk in the park.

Accountants are put under tremendous pressure as they are tasked with managing the inner workings of business finances on a daily basis.

Without astute financial management, the longevity and success of any business could be put under major strain.

With this in mind, the characteristics of an accountant stem from more than just math, arithmetic, and good organization.

Here are 20 accountant personality traits to look out for when hiring someone new to your finance team:

1. A Love of Mathematics

Yep, it's true, a love and appreciation for numbers is essential. After all, that's what most accountants spend their time staring at, day in and day out.

Accountants should typically love working with factual information, statistics and figures and find satisfaction in solving complicated financial riddles.

Most accounting undergraduates would have specialized in the following:

  • Macroeconomics

  • Microeconomics

  • Business economics

  • Applied mathematics

  • Financial mathematics

  • Statistics

While many accounting courses don't specifically specialize in mathematics, most of the modules focus on working with statistics, finances, and numbers.

Problem-solving skills are also an essential part of being an accountant. Having a passion for figuring out tough financial equations is the key to a long career in finance.

2. Excellent Organization Skills

Being a successful accountant is a fine juggling act which requires excellent organization.

Accountants need to keep up with daily tasks which range from data processing, paperwork, balancing figures, analyzing data, research, and more.

In order to maximize their productivity, they need to manage their tasks in an organized manner and keep up-to-date on all deadlines.

Most accountants work an average of 40 hours per week or more, but keeping organized can help minimize instances of overtime.

They need to ensure the workspace is neat and organized, email folders are read and work tasks are prioritized.

3. Outstanding Time Management Skills

Accountants play an important role within any company by contributing to strategic business and financial decisions. To this end, accountants need to manage their time very carefully.

They may spend a good portion of their work day in meetings discussing these decisions, this is why time outside of meetings is paramount.

Tasks need to be prioritized first thing in the morning and marked off as they are achieved throughout the day to stay on track with deadlines.

4. Astute Attention-to-Detail

This is an integral part of being a successful account as attention-to-detail and precision directly impacts productivity throughout the day.

Mistakes and corrections take up time, so an eye for detail and due diligence to accuracy at all times is vital.

Attention-to-detail and accuracy is not something an accountant should be reminded of - it should come naturally to them.

5. Natural Born Planners

A large part of an accountant's job is to help clients plan out a successful financial strategy to meet their business goals and deliverables.

An accountant is typically a natural-born planner, someone who takes the lead when it comes to organizing vacations, events, and itineraries.

An accountant also needs to plan out their own strategies in order to meet deadlines and client expectations. Planning and research should be second nature to any accountant.

6. Client-Centric

At the forefront of any good accountant's mind should be meeting customer requirements and expectations.

This is where an accountant needs to be goal orientated in order to satisfy a client's business goals.

A good work ethic and an in-depth understanding of a client's industry niche is important too. Ultimately, this allows an accountant to make the best financial decisions for a client's business.

7. Out-the-Box Thinkers

A creative accountant? That's right, accountants need to think out-the-box for a good part of their day in order to solve intricate financial conundrums.

Practicing creative problem-solving helps an accountant develop creative solutions to difficult problems. Not all financial issues are textbook standard and each client is different. This is where creative thinking is highly beneficial.

8. Passionate About the Industry

If 90% of your job is focused on crunching numbers and analyzing financial statistics, having a passion for this sector is truly important.

An accountant with a true interest and passion for finance and business is one that is all-the-more successful and productive.

Ultimately, they will always be up-to-speed on the latest industry developments and stay abreast of industry changes. This allows an accountant to grow and develop their skills along with the industry itself.

9. Trustworthy

Dealing with financial statements, income, expenditure, tax return, employee salaries etc. is considered confidential information.

This is where trustworthiness is vital to the successful operation of any company.

Professionalism and ethics should be held in very high esteem for an accountant. After all, being trustworthy is important to maintaining a solid reputation.

10. An Excellent Communicator

On a day-to-day basis, an accountant will most likely liaise with a multitude of different people from all departments within a business.

This is where communication skills are vital to ensuring their daily tasks and deadlines are met.

To add to this, an accountant should also be able to communicate financial information to non-finance staff in a manner that's easily understood.

Good communication is also extremely important in developing long-lasting relationships with clients.

11. Collaborative

An accountant and the rest of their team play a pivotal role within any business. They work with different departments on a daily basis, so need to possess skills in working collaboratively, as a whole.

An accountant should be able to focus on working alone when needed and imparting important information to a team of people when needed.

Working collaboratively means working with different types of personalities every day. To this end, an accountant needs to be highly adaptable.

12. Highly Flexible

The nature of any successful business is to grow and change with the times within a particular industry niche.

The same applies to an accountant who plans on growing with an organization. They should be highly flexible, adaptable and open to change.

This goes for different working environments, different types of work colleagues, different types of clients and more.

An accountant also needs to ensure they keep up with the ever-evolving digital age. They must make it their mission to stay abreast of changes and developments within their career choice and adapt where needed.

13. Good with People

Being an accountant is more than just sitting in a small office, staring at numbers all day.

As previously mentioned, an accountant must be able to communicate, work with and collaborate with all employees across a business.

Being able to delegate different tasks and responsibilities is equally important if you're head of a department.

Managing people is no easy feat, but can be done with open communication, empathy and the right amount of knowledge.

Learning to become a good communicator will ultimately help to develop people skills which, in turn, develops trustworthiness and reliability.

14. Strong Ethics

Having a strong sense of integrity is what helps an accountant become truly confident in their abilities and the standard of their work.

Having a strong ethical code is important to ensure all confidential information is kept private. It's also important to help an accountant achieve their highest standards of work possible.

Keeping ethics at the forefront of your mind as an accountant will also help to keep up with accounting law changes and legal requirements.

15. Practical Minded

This is where an accountant is able to work through a complicated financial issue with a practical, level-headed mindset.

Being practical-minded is imperative to problem-solving under pressure and being able to explain complicated concepts to other employees.

A practical mind will help an accountant to simplify complicated problems into a succinct, clear and easy-to-understand solution.

16. A Team Player

Being able to work on a team is another important trait for a successful accountant.

Accounting teams need to work together to manage the finances of a business, often pooling their collective knowledge to solve complex issues.

Being a good team player means you're able to openly communicate your views, keep opposing opinions to yourself and offer helpful solutions.

It also means you're able to point out team flaws and areas which need improving in a professional, level-headed manner.

As a senior accountant, delegation skills will also come in handy. This includes being able to recognize people's strengths and weaknesses and play towards each within your team.

17. Persistent

Persistence is a big one. Many accountants work to ''balance the books'' and may miss minute details along the way.

Seeking out these details takes persistence in order to achieve an end goal and crunch the perfect set of numbers.

Formulating a well-thought-out plan to solve a complicated financial task also requires persistence in order to meet deadlines and expectations.

The bottom line is, an accountant keeps looking for an answer when everyone else has given up!

18. Patient

While patience tends to go hand-in-hand with persistence, it is slightly different depending on the situation.

Learning to be patient with different people from different departments is a huge part of everyday life for an accountant. This includes learning to be patient with people who may not understand the ins and outs of accounting.

Having patience allows an accountant to become a more pleasant person to work with. Someone who is approachable, willing to listen and remains patient when issues arise is of incredible value to any business.

19. Outgoing and Sociable

Accountants tend to work with all types of people from different walks of life- whether it's a new client, corporate manager or entrepreneur.

For this reason, being outgoing and sociable are important characteristics to have in order to hold your own and be successful in an accounting career.

Being outgoing also means having the gumption to take initiative when it comes to difficult tasks and projects. These characteristics will take any accountant far in their career.

20. A Good Teacher

Finally, accountants also need to be good at helping other people learn.

A senior accountant will have to mentor, coach or train younger counterparts in their career. This is where patience, good people skills and being a good teacher is paramount.

Along with this, an accountant will need to explain difficult concepts to their clients in a manner that's easily translatable. They will need to continually brief them on finance, taxation, and international finance procedures.

This is where being a good teacher who is focused on helping others comes into play.

Manage Your Finances with Scrubbed

Looking for good accountants who offer professional services and the simplest way to manage your books?

Scrubbed is a full-service accounting firm, offering turnkey solutions to help your business manage its financial responsibilities better.

Using familiar cloud-based software, Scrubbed is a 100% cost-effective financial management solution.

By enlisting our services, you can focus on building your business while our team focuses on managing your finances to reach the same end goal - success!

Get in touch with our team today for your free consultation.